Web Security

You can protect your web applications from common web attacks like CSRF, XSS, Content sniffing and more using the @adonisjs/shield package.

It is recommended to use this package when creating a server rendered app using AdonisJS.

If you are using AdonisJS to create an API server, then you must use rely on your frontend framework's security layer.

npm i @adonisjs/shield
node ace configure @adonisjs/shield
// Add following to start/kernel.ts
Server.middleware.register([
() => import('@ioc:Adonis/Core/BodyParser'),
() => import('@ioc:Adonis/Addons/Shield')
])

CSRF protection

CSRF (Cross Site Request Forgery) is an attack that tricks the user of your web apps to perform form submissions without their explicit consent.

To protect against the CSRF attacks, your application should be able to distinguish between the form submissions triggered by your app vs. some other malicious website.

AdonisJS generates a unique token (known as CSRF token) for every HTTP request and associates it with the user session for later verification. Since, the token is generated on the backend, the malicious website has no way of getting access to it.

The token must be present alongside the other form fields in order for CSRF check to pass. You can access it using the csrfField inside your edge templates.

<form action="{{ route('PostsController.store') }}" method="post">
{{ csrfField() }}
<div>
<label for="title">Post title</label>
<input type="text" name="title">
</div>
<hr>
<button type="submit">Create Post</button>
</form>

That is all you need to do.

Config

The shield middleware relies on the config stored inside the config/shield.ts file. Feel free to tweak the configuration options as per your requirements.

export const csrf: ShieldConfig['csrf'] = {
enabled: true,
exceptRoutes: [],
enableXsrfCookie: true,
methods: ['POST', 'PUT', 'PATCH', 'DELETE'],
}

enabled

Enable/disable the CSRF protection all together. You may find yourself disabling it during tests when hitting the form endpoints directly.


exceptRoutes

Ignore certain routes from being validated for the CSRF token. You may find it useful, when creating a hybrid app with API endpoints and the server rendered forms by exempting API endpoints from CSRF token validation.

{
exceptRoutes: [
'/api/users',
'/api/users/:id',
'/api/posts'
]
}

For more advanced use cases, you can register a function and dynamically filter routes from being validated.

{
exceptRoutes: (ctx) => {
// ignore all routes starting with /api/
return ctx.request.url().includes('/api/')
}
}

methods

HTTP methods to validate for the availability of the CSRF token. You must add all the HTTP verbs you are using to handle form submissions.

{
methods: ['POST', 'PUT', 'PATCH', 'DELETE']
}

enableXsrfCookie

Setting the value to true instructs the shield middleware to read the CSRF token from the X-XSRF-TOKEN header. Read the Ajax form submissions section to learn more.


CSRF token for SPA

The Single page applications render forms on the frontend and hence they do not have access to the csrfField view global. However, you can read the token value from the XSRF-TOKEN cookie and send it to the server via X-XSRF-TOKEN header.

The cookie technique is already widely supported by frameworks like Angular and request libraries like axios.

However, do make sure to enable the cookie feature by setting the value of enableXsrfCookie = true inside the config/shield.ts file.

CSRF token for RESTful APIs

If you are creating RESTful API server, then you don't need CSRF protection, unless you are relying on cookies for user authentication. If you are relying on cookies for authentication, then simply follow the instructions of CSRF token for SPA section.

CSP

CSP (Content security policy) helps you define the trusted sources for loading and executing scripts, styles, fonts, etc and reduce the risk of XSS attacks.

You can configure the CSP header by tweaking the configuration options inside the config/shield.ts file.

config/shield.ts
export const csp: ShieldConfig['csp'] = {
enabled: false,
directives: {},
reportOnly: false,
}

enabled

Enable/disable CSP protection all together.


directives

Configure the CSP header directives. We recommend reading about them on https://content-security-policy.com . The dash-case directive names are defined as camelCase inside the shield config file.

directives: {
defaultSrc: ['self'],
scriptSrc: ['self', 'https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com', '@nonce'],
fontSrc: ['self', 'https://fonts.googleapis.com'],
}

reportOnly

Set the value to true, if you want the CSP violations to result in a warning rather than an error. Learn more .


CSP nonce

To define nonce based inline script and style tags, you have to make use of the @nonce keyword.

directives: {
scriptSrc: ['self', '@nonce'],
}

Next, make use of the cspNonce view helper to define the nonce attribute on the inline script and style tags.

<script nonce="{{ cspNonce }}">
</script>

You can also access the nonce attribute using the response.nonce property.

Route.get('/', ({ response }) => {
return {
nonce: response.nonce
}
})

DNS Prefetch

Using the dnsPrefetch setting from the config/shield.ts file, you can control the behavior for the X-DNS-Prefetch-Control header.

export const dnsPrefetch: ShieldConfig['dnsPrefetch'] = {
enabled: true,
allow: true,
}

enabled

Enable/disable the header all together.


allow

Setting the value to true will define the X-DNS-Prefetch-Control header with the value 'on', otherwise 'off' value is defined.

Frame guard

The xFrame config property manages the X-Frame-Options header.

export const xFrame: ShieldConfig['xFrame'] = {
enabled: true,
action: 'DENY',
}

enabled

Enable/disable the header all together.


action

Define the header value. It must be one from DENY, SAMEORIGIN or ALLOW-FROM. The ALLOW-FROM action also needs the domain name to allow.

{
enabled: true,
action: 'ALLOW-FROM',
domain: 'foo.com'
}

HSTS

Control whether or not the website should be accessible via HTTP using the Strict-Transport-Security header.

The configuration for HSTS is stored inside the config/shield.ts file.

export const hsts: ShieldConfig['hsts'] = {
enabled: true,
maxAge: '180 days',
includeSubDomains: true,
preload: false,
}

enabled

Enable/disable the Strict-Transport-Security all together.


maxAge

Define how long the browser should remember the header value.


includeSubDomains

When set to true, the rule will be applied to site's subdomains as well.


preload

Whether or not to preload the header value from the HSTS preload service. Learn more

No sniffing

Using the contentTypeSniffing setting you can control the behavior for the X-Content-Type-Options header.

The header is only set when the enabled property is set to true.

export const contentTypeSniffing: ShieldConfig['contentTypeSniffing'] = {
enabled: true,
}